A Proposed Montpelier Ordinance Talks Trash

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A potential ordinance in Montpelier is addressing dozens of concerns about trash.

“I do walk around this parking lot periodically and pick up bottles and cardboard and what not  just to keep this more or less litter free because i drive by it everyday,” says Bill Perreault, who lives near an abandoned property many people have complained about.

Mayor John Hollar says Perreault is among 40 to 50 people who came forward this summer, saying something needs to be done.  Hollar says the owners of Econo Lodge on Route 12, where Perreault references, had a deadline of 2012 to clean up the vacant lot they own next door.  It didn’t happen until this summer.

“It fell through the cracks, unfortunately,” says Hollar.  “It came to our attention when the neighbors came forward and said ‘we’re really tired of looking at this.'”

“Following the last City Council meeting a couple months ago, dumpsters appeared on the property and multiple dumpsters were filled up with stuff over five or six weeks,” says Perreault.

Wednesday evening, City Councilors held another, meeting where the conducted the first reading of a proposed “Junkyard Ordinance.” Hollar says Montpelier has never had one and he’s been wanting to tackle the trash since he took office.

“It says you can’t store junk on your property in a way that’s visible to your neighbors or visible by people driving by on public roads,” says Perreault.  “Also, if you’re operating a junkyard, a sensible licensing process for that.”

Hollar doesn’t blame a lack of landfills for the problem.  Casella Waste is on Route 2.

Perreault adds the real issue is not having an “Abandoned Buildings Ordinance.”

“To me, the real trash are the buildings.”

Hollar says Vermont law prohibits municipalities from forcing property owners to demolish, or occupy abandoned buildings.  He adds he’s considering a tax on vacant buildings to give them more incentive.
 
Hollar says City Councilors will have a second reading and possible action of the proposed ordinance at their next meeting.

“Obviously, we have laws prohibiting people from disposing of trash on public property, or someone else’s land,” says Hollar.

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